The Rotation Diet

January 13, 2014  |  Blog, Histamine Intolerance

I recently had the great pleasure to interview Vicky Mitchell the creator of the Rotation Diet Assistant App. Vicki is a certified health coach, has personally used a rotation diet for over a decade, and is also an expert on gluten intolerance.

Rotation diets are widely recommended for auto-immune conditions by immunologists. The rationale of the rotation diet is that it takes 2 – 4 days for the immune system (and particularly the villi) to recalibrate itself. The diet works on food families (rather than individual foods) as the immune system is primitive so attacks things that look similar (rather than identical). If the family of foods (rather than just individual foods) is removed for 4 days then the gut will respond authentically when challenged by that food family. 

Vicki said “The benefit of a rotation diet is to help heal your digestion by removing “reactive” foods which helps to reduce the inflammation and aids in healing. In addition, rotating the foods you can eat also helps reduce new sensitives from occurring while encouraging eating a broad range of foods and micronutrients all year round.”

With over 10 years experience with a rotation diet, I asked Vicki for her top tips for implementing a rotation diet, and here they are:

  1. Focus on what you can eat (not what you cannot).
  2. Plan ahead and shop, or order in, the foods based on a plan.
  3. Batch cook, freeze food, and organise your freezer by rotation days.
  4. Don’t throw out your tried and tested recipes. Most foods can be substituted.
  5. Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to do it perfectly. If you make a mistake just calmly start over.
  6. Do not eat food you are allergic or intolerant to even on a rotation diet.

The most laborious part of a rotation diet is undoubtedly the planning. The Rotation Diet Assistant genuinely simplifies this process. Foods that are not tolerated, can be blocked from the lists, allowing you to focus on what you can eat. The remaining foods are clearly identified by family (some of which are obvious, many of which were surprising to me – did you know that Rhubarb is part of the buckwheat family?). These foods can then be added to a calendar based meal plan (Vicki tells me she just ads individual foods to breakfast and does not worry about planning out the meals). Once set up the food days can be permanently rotated so there is no need to re-enter data or think about what you will eat. 

Whilst the app does not currently have smart capability (warning you if food families are consumed more often than permitted) there are future plans to do this. It would also be useful to be able to filter the whole food list by food family. Whilst the food list is detailed, Vicki tells me that she is open to additions, and has just released an updated database based on customer suggestions.

So having downloaded and played with the app will I use it? Actually I will. A rotation diet has helped me in so many ways, to maintain the tolerance of the foods I regularly eat, to re-introduce new high nutrient moderate amine or histamine foods (like avocados, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli), and helped me to identified foods that build to a reaction (such as eggs which were my final solution).  I also believe that conscious planned eating (as opposed to unconscious mindless eating) has been important and as much as I try to rationalise not needing to do it I know that I do!

The Rotation Diet Assistant is currently available for Iphones® and costs US$1.99. An android version is available on Google Plus here. I purchased the App myself and no consideration was given for this review.

By Alison Vickery

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